Yesterday we celebrated our fathers, dads, daddies, pops, padres, our old man…whatever your term of endearment for the first important man in your life. I happen to be lucky enough to have 3 special dad’s in my life, my real dad, my step-dad, and my father-in-law, and each one has imparted very important lessons to me throughout my life. Things such as how to drive, how to use power tools, to sing along to songs you love, that people are more important than things, and to always wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident…you know all those important lessons we need to learn in life.
Of all the lessons a father can teach their child, the very best fathers will give their children a firm financial foundation. I’m not talking about supporting them financially or giving them handouts, but teaching them about money. How to earn it, how to spend it, and how to save it. Don’t know where to start? It doesn’t have to be hard, it doesn’t have to be boring. Here are some of my favorite ways to teach kids about money.
There are many books out there for kids about money, these are just a few of my favorites. The following books will make story time about learning, without your kids even knowing!
Preschool to 2nd Grade:
Little Critter: Just Saving My Money by Mercer Mayer
The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money by Stan & Jan Berenstain
Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
3rd Grade to 6th Grade:
The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
Lunch Money by Andrew Clements
Rent a Third Grader by B.B. Hiller
These three classic board games will familiarize kids with several foundational money concepts such as salary, savings, insurance, loans, and bills. They also happen to be my favorite games I played as a kid!
I love this game because it can be played in as little as 15 minutes! The goal is to have the most money at the end of the game so there is a huge emphasis on saving.
This game is great because it gives you a modicum of control as you pick a path to take in life. Either take the long way around by way of college and draw a better paying job while taking on the burden of student loan debt, or take the short cut and go straight to work.
There are so many versions of this game out there now but the tried and true is the classic. It may take a few days to finish a game, but pull it out on a rainy day and teach your kids about real estate, mortgaging your property when you get too spend happy and losing when you run out of money. That may or may not be the easiest way to finish the game quickly if you don’t mind losing!
My kids love playing games online and these days you have to be so careful about what they are accessing on the internet. Why not give them some parent approved games that are fun but educational as well?! Here are a few of my favorite websites with free money games.
US Mint: a government website with games focused on coins.
BizKids: a show on public broadcast television, they also have a website with a few fun games as well as some resources for the budding entrepreneur.
Practical Money Skills: a website by Visa, has many resources, including several games for preschoolers through teens.
So dads, as you are spending some quality time with your kids, incorporate a few lessons in as well. These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Get started laying that financial foundation for your kids today!